It has set aside £5m from the Primary Care Fund in 2021/22 to make improvements to existing GP premises. An additional £2m will obtain new sites to accommodate multi-disciplinary teams including those administering vaccines, mental health nurses and audiology specialists.
Vacant high street units will be taken over, with the funding also used to support GP practices, including digitising records to free up more space.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “GP surgeries provide a wide range of services, supporting both the physical and mental health of patients. So it’s vital they get the space they need to allow primary care multi-disciplinary teams to do their jobs.
“As we recover from the most challenging time in NHS history, our work is not only about providing access to services, but ensuring those services are high quality and inclusive for all of our communities. This funding will give GP practices the space they need to serve patients in the safest and most effective way.”
Around 380 GP practices occupy NHS-owned health centres while the remaining one are in around 530 properties that are either owned by GPs or leased by them from private landlords.
A survey of the non-NHS GP premises, completed in May 2019, identified that 18,500 square metres alone was used for records, filing or archives. Not all of this space will be suitable for clinical use - but some of it may be.